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Academic institutions need to adapt IPR strategies to fulfil their role in Europe’s innovation ecosystem

ALLEA published the statement ‘The Need for Intellectual Property Rights Strategies at Academic Institutions’ today. The publication formulates recommendations both to scientific organisations and European and national legislators and highlights the importance of managing intangible assets with due consideration of intellectual property rights (IPR).

The increasing relevance of intangible assets, such as computer software or patented technology, in today’s economy requires fundamental rethinking and a cultural change in the management of IP portfolios in scientific organisations just as it does in companies. With its statement, ALLEA addresses this shift of economic relevance from tangible to intangible assets and urges academic institutions to adopt adequate IPR strategies which ensure that knowledge transfer benefits society, for example in public-private partnerships. It also presents options to European and national legislators on ways to incentivise the translation of publicly funded research results into IP-protected innovative products and processes.

The statement has been produced by ALLEA’s Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights, which comprises experts from various disciplines and from academies across Europe.

“Europe risks lagging behind other regions in incentivising knowledge transfer for innovation. Academic institutions and policymakers must prepare better for the pivotal economic shift towards intangible assets and adapt their legal frameworks and academic plans to efficiently respond to these trends”, said Professor Joseph Straus, Chair of the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights.

The statement recommends to academic institutions:

  • To adopt a holistic approach as regards to their IP strategies, in order to remain attractive as partners in public-private partnerships (PPP) or for third party funding.
  • To raise awareness of the importance of IPR for innovation on both the micro- and macroeconomic scale and developing models which adequately remunerate employees in case of a successful commercialisation of research findings.
  • To make available financial and human resources in order to secure in-house structures or external mechanisms to deal with invention disclosures, filing and prosecution of IPRs, as well as the monitoring of granted IPRs.
  • To establish clear rules around the ownership in and handling of IPRs in cases of commercial spin-outs.

The statement furthermore advises European and national legislators:

  • To devise legal frameworks similar to those adopted in the US, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.
  • To introduce a grace period into patent law, and to consider preferential tax treatment for income generated through commercialisation of publicly funded research.
  • To better support cooperation between academic institutions in the commercialisation of their research results and to optimise cooperation of existing Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs).

Europe risks lagging behind other regions in incentivising knowledge transfer for innovation. Academic institutions and policymakers must prepare better for the pivotal economic shift towards intangible assets and adapt their legal frameworks and academic plans to efficiently respond to these trends

Download the full statement here

 

 

ALLEA statement released: The Ownership and Protection of Multinational Inventions

The ALLEA Permanent Working Group Intellectual Property Rights (PWGIPR) released a statement today titled “The Ownership and Protection of Multinational Inventions – in Particular Inventions Resulting from Publicly Funded Research”.

The statement responds to the increase of multinational inventions resulting from international cooperation in research and development and the implications for the legal framework under which those inventions are managed and protected. The expert group calls for adopting more harmonised legal instruments at the European level with respect to the choice of law(s) governing inventorship. This harmonisation is necessary to reduce legal uncertainty and raise efficiency in multinational research and development.

The increasing internationalisation of research and development has led to more inventions as the outcome of such cooperation. The EU is supportive of these developments and has set up rules to administer this internationalisation. However, neither Regulation (EU) 1290/2013 nor any other legislative measure provides for harmonisation with national law on inventorship, assignment, and patent filing requirements for multinational inventions.

The ALLEA Permanent Working Group Intellectual Property Rights warns that this legal complexity hampers efficiency in the research and development area and leads to legal uncertainty with respect to the choice of law(s) governing inventorship.

In their statement, the ALLEA experts observe the lack of harmonisation and invite the European Commission to (i) analyse the effect of diverging national rules on inventorship, assignment, and patent filing requirements on research and development in the EU, (ii) assess the appropriate scope and substance of legislative measures and remedies at EU level, and (iii) initiate discussions with regard to the prospect and feasibility of adopting harmonised legal instruments on the international level.

The ALLEA Permanent Working Group Intellectual Property Rights combines decades of highly specialised expertise in the European legal framework for patents and copyrights. Among other topics, the expert group focuses on the legal challenges of Intellectual Property Rights and the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Previous related statements include inter alia “On the Status of the Patent System of the European Union” published in 2015.

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